Have You Been Arrested For Drunk Driving with a BAC Below 0.08%?
Driving while Intoxicated (“DWI”) is defined in N.J.S.A. 39:4-50. Under this law, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of an intoxicating alcoholic substance and illegal to operate a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or greater. It is important to note that a person can be convicted of driving while under the influence of alcohol even when their BAC is below the legal limit of 0.08%. Consuming even one drink can dull your reaction time while driving. Drinking can also impede ones judgment and alertness. You can be convicted of DUI based on the testimony of a police officer. They can testify that your driving was negatively impacted based on their observation at the time of a traffic stop.The laws pertaining to drunk driving in Ocean County can be very complex. Being stopped for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) in Brick, Lavallette, Toms River and the numerous other shore towns in New Jersey can have a great impact on your life. If you have been charged with Driving While Intoxicated it is imperative that you hire an experienced DWI defense attorney to help guide you through the legal process. It doesn’t matter if the impairment is from Drugs or Alcohol, either one carries severe penalties. A charge of DWI is one of the most serious motor vehicle violations that you can face.
Driving While Intoxicated (N.J.S.A. 39:4-50) in Ocean County
Say you go to a local bar for happy hour one Friday evening after work in Point Pleasant Beach and you have what you would consider to be only a few drinks. You may feel fine once you leave the bar and decided to get behind the wheel of your car on your way home. But under N.J.S.A. 39:4-50 those few drinks might warrant an arrest for drunk driving. A police officer will observes your ability to drive and look for any missteps. They might look for your inability to maintain your lane, failing to stop at a light, not using a signal light to change lanes or numerous other traffic infractions. Once the officer has reasonable suspicion for the traffic stop they will pull you over. The police officer will conduct an interview with the driver and if they determine that the driver has been drinking by observing an open container of alcohol, smelling alcohol on the drivers breath, slurred speech or the drivers inability to comply with simple commands then the police officer may have the driver step out of the car and preform a set of Standardized Field Sobriety Tests (SFST).
Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST)
The SFSTs will likely include three tests. They included the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus, the One Leg Stand and Walk and Turn. The police officer is required to clearly provide directions for each test. In all three tests the officer is observing the ability of the driver to follow directions and ability to maintain balance.
Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) the police officer may use their finger or pen as a stimulus to provide a focal point for the driver to follow with their eyes. The driver is to keep their head completely still during this test and only use their eyes to follow the object that the police officer is moving from side to side. The officer will be observing the lack of smooth motion with the driver’s eyes as they follow the stimulus.One Leg Stand the driver will lift one leg off the ground approximately 6 inches for 30 seconds while the driver counts.
Walk And Turn in this test the driver will walk a straight line, heal to toe for nine steps then turn around and walk back heel to toe for nine steps.
If the officer feels that the driver is impaired after completing the SFST, they will place the driver under arrest for driving while intoxicated (N.J.S.A. 39:4-50). The arresting officer will transport the offender to the local police station where the driver will have to submit to a breath test by blowing a breath into a Dräger Alcotest® 7110 device. The breath test will determine the driver’s Blood Alcohol Concentration. Under New Jersey implied consent law it is illegal to refuse a breath test. The police can not force a person to take a breath test but if they do refuse they will be charged with refusal (39:4-50.2). Refusal carries similar penalties as that of a DWI. Also refusing to take a breath test does not mean you won’t be charged with drunk driving. You can still be charged with the DWI in addition to the refusal.
Blood Alcohol Concentration
The legal limit for Blood Alcohol Concentration in New Jersey is below 0.08% for those of the legal drinking age of 21. For those below 21 there is a zero tolerance for DWI. A minor will be charged with a DWI with a BAC of 0.01%. For those with a Commercial Driver’s License the legal limit is 0.04% if they are driving a commercial vehicle at the time of their DWI stop.
Consequences Of Drunk Driving In New Jersey
Have you been charged with a DWI or a Refusal? The Criminal Defense Attorneys of Villani & DeLuca, P.C. are here to help! Call 732-800-2980 today!